Reasons People Leave Church

Cross on a church steeple bordered by trees

I thought today I would give you maybe a little chuckle for the week. Several months ago I asked the question in our private Confidante FB Group, “What are some of the reasons people have given for leaving your church?” I shouldn’t be shocked but some of the responses caused me to shake my head.

Here are some of those responses:

  • Because a deacon’s child won a lot of Awana awards when she had gone through two entire books and their child didn’t win any and he was never there. They got up in the middle of the ceremony and stormed down the middle aisle and yelled out that this whole thing was rigged.
  • One family left because my husband wouldn’t sing all the verses of each hymn. Or because their family was more spiritual than our family because we eat at restaurants that sell alcohol.
  • My husband refused to preach from the pulpit that all Christian parents should homeschool their children. Oh, and by the way, as a preacher’s wife, how could I possibly consider myself a Christian when I throw my kids to the wolves by sending them to public school every day?
  • Well I could start with the cops being called to a business meeting, or maybe the story about me having an affair with the youth leader, or the threats against our family because my husband had a community service at our facility, or maybe the former pastor of mine who shot and killed his deacon because he was having an affair with the deacon’s wife and it’s now been on 20/20 & Deadly Wives on Lifetime.
  • Because my husband supposedly sold a building on the property and pocketed the money. Mind you, we had never seen a building and had no idea what they were talking about. After looking into it, we discovered that building had been sold two years before he was ever called as pastor.
  • An older couple left the church because my husband and I were too young to lead the church!!
    They told people, “What are those young kids going to teach us?”
  • Because it wasn’t fair for me to have a “Best friend” that wasn’t them.
  • Because my husband didn’t ask about her uncle who was in the hospital even though she never told anybody.
  • A couple lost their business and were forced to liquidate their assets. For a time they parked (hid) their truck in the church’s parking lot. When my husband asked them to find a better solution…well, you know the rest of the story.
  • My husband is too young to learn from (he is 38).
  • One family left because this man’s child had to wait in line to get in the hot air balloon tethered at the VBS closing program. He thought she should be able to cut in front of all the other kids and when my husband told her to wait her turn, she got mad. She didn’t care but he sure did!
  • Because we clapped in Church.

I know this list could go on forever and you could add many to it, but I wanted to share it with you today so that if you are facing some of these challenges of people giving excuses for leaving, that you will take comfort in knowing you are not alone.

I learned early in ministry that if people leave the church, let them leave and if God wants them to stay He will take care of it and if He wants them to leave please let them go. We don’t always know the big picture and it is hard to lose people we have invested our time, energy and love into, but God knows what is best.

I want to encourage you to just continue being faithful in serving Him and don’t let people steal your joy and don’t let them put unrealistic expectations on you and your family.

I would love to hear some of your feedback on this as well.

About Rodetta Cook

Rodetta Cook has been a pastor’s wife for 39 years. She and her husband, Ron, have actively served the Lord together in ministry during the entire time and are co-founders of Care for Pastors. She understands the expectations, loneliness and how hard it is to find balance in ministry as a pastor’s wife. Rodetta also leads the pastor’s wives initiative at Care for Pastors called The Confidante and ministers to hundreds of wives each week. She strives to share blogs with other pastors’ wives that will help them in their ministry walk.

2 Comments

  • Lori Beckley says:

    Thank you so much for writing these words. My husband and I have been in full time ministry for 35 years. As of late it has been so hard to say goodbye to people. I have been discouraged. You picked my spirits up.

  • So true and unbelievable some people think Pastors have it easy, and all they need to do is preach that is their what their hearts and Gods

    will is but in some churches it is like babysitting they are so full of themselves and impossible to please just sayin’.

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